Our big news this semester is that we pulled the kids out of school at the end of October. Again. I know, I know. Initially it seemed like things were going great. For the first month, there were no mornings fights about getting ready. The kids went to be fairly easily. They talked about school, seemed to be making advances, etc, etc. I hated it. I hated the schedule. I hated not being able to do anything unless it revolved around their school hours...it was made doubly harder by being pregnant but they were happy so I dealt with it.
Then things started to slowly turn back into what we had experienced before. Umberto complained bitterly every morning. He was starting to talk about not being able to do the work, and it was apparent that he was falling behind and that his esteem was suffering. Camille was starting to act out again, hitting Piper being rude and having emotional outbursts with us. And it was a lot to deal with coupled with a four year old and a pregnant body. I appreciated their teachers' efforts but the reality was that the kids, both of them, needed a lot more one on one. Something that is pretty much impossible in most class rooms. H and I talked about it a great deal. I talked to my mom about (she had them on Tuesday and Thursdays). Both were counseling me to pull them out which was a big deal. Neither of them had really been 100% behind the homeschooling so for them to say "Pull them out" told me that my instinct wasn't off.
And fueling much of these thoughts was the fact that I missed them. When I had them home in the Spring I was going through some stuff. I was influenced by some people that I think really thought that kids should be out of sight for most of the time. They made snide comments frequently about how we spend so much time with our kids. They certainly thought homeschooling was crazy and one of them made many comments about how lazy homeschooling mothers were. It's hard to home school when that is your support system. It made me doubt my choices. And I wasn't doing much with them! I was so wrapped up in myself and not fully in a good way. Yes I was finishing up a thesis which was a big deal but I was also spending hours on Facebook.
We decided to pull them out at the end of the year. We were hoping Umberto would start reading at that point. But he continued to not only not read but to actually digress. And then my friend, M, started up our old group. We skipped school a couple of times to go hang out with our homeschooling friends. One time we went to the pumpkin farm. The kids had a lovely time. Umberto ran with his old friends, laughing and happy. Camille followed M's oldest daughter around, and played with the animals. They were joyful and carefree in a way I hadn't seen in a long time. At the end of the day as we driving home, Camille said to me "That was the best day EVER!" And i knew that we had to go back to this lifestyle. That it wasn't just me that yearned for those unstructured days. It was the kids.
At the end of October we pulled them out. It was the best decision we made. Umberto's reading has improved dramatically in the last few weeks. His love of books had returned. We spend hours reading chapter books together. Camille is about as chilled as Camille ever gets. She continues to great academically perhaps more so because she doesn't have the social pressures that I think pressed in our her.
I don't think they'll ever go back to school...at least not until college, and this suits us as a family just fine.